- All verbal descriptions and photos of those galleries indicate galleries that were openly accessible when they were discovered. This supports the notion that those galleries were "breached" and in fact may never have been sealed before or after last use by the Dynastics or any other culture afterward. As I mentioned in a prior post, if I'm wrong and it turned out that Wilkinson, Bissey, Tallet, etc. did find sealed galleries but either didn't consider including, or deliberately chose to conceal, or simply ignored the importance of mentioning, those sealed galleries in their reporting, then I would consider that to be very irresponsible reporting of an important find. I simply choose to give Tallet, et al. more credit than that.
- Tallet's proposed provenance of el-Jarf contradicts Wilkinson, and some of the evidence presented by Tallet makes little sense to me as a "contemporaneous" paradigm but, rather, much more clearly supports adaption. One strong clue is the "narrowing block" and also the observation of a block placed in front of, but not actually blocking, the entrance to the gallery. Why go through the extra effort to excavate the wider entrance and then put in even more effort to make a block to narrow that entrance? In fact, there is a resemblance of post-construction narrowing of both the gallery opening at those sites in the northern Eastern Desert of Egypt close to the mouth of Wadi Araba, and the entrance to the Fort at Mons Claudianus, farther south in the same Eastern Desert of Egypt. These sites all show masonry narrowing the entrance and also a "threshold" block placed in the entrance path. While Peacock had no explanation for these features in the main entrance to the Fort, he makes it clear that such modifications were done late in the operation of the "Fort" and were performed under by the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, Wilkinson actually proposed that the galleries at the harbor sites were of Greco-Roman origin. If those sites were originally constructed by the early Dynastics but modified by the Romans for their own use, this is another indication of adaption. Other evidence of repurposing is the presence of "burnt shards" of pottery. Why would anyone leave burnt pottery lying around in an active pharaonic pottery production facility? Also, there is evidence of charred boat wood in one of the galleries. It's not clear why anyone running an active pharaonic harbor and storage facility would burn what appears to be a disassembled ("royal"?) boat inside a "short-term storage" cave. In addition, the galleries in el-Jarf are a full 5km from the harbor. Under what conditions does it make sense to have an ancient harbor's "short-term storage" facility located 5km from the harbor, especially considering that the OK had no wheeled vehicles? In fact, why would an active harbor operation need to hew a short-term storage facility into solid bedrock at all, let alone so far from the harbor? And let's not forget the "levels of occupation" observed by Tallet. What distinguishes these "levels" if they were all contemporary? It strikes me as quite a contortion to attempt to fit all of these findings into being contemporaneous with an active pharaonic harbor/storage operation. It simply seems clear to me that a provenance earlier than OK and subsequent adaption are distinct possibilities supported, and not contradicted, by the evidence.
- Since the evidence supports the possibility that those galleries were opened for untold centuries, or millennia, after last Dynastic use, and since the galleries were essentially found empty other than a few relatively useless artifacts including a few dozen broken pottery jars, some charred boat wood, a few small pieces of non-descript wood, a few short segments of rope, and tattered papyrii segments lost in the rubble, it's fair to consider that those galleries were pillaged long before they were rediscovered already breached in recent times, especially when you consider the possibility of Bedouin and other nomad occupation as well as the known occupation of the Roman Empire at various sites in the Eastern Desert. Those galleries were likely exposed to public access for many years before Wilkinson stumbled upon them, especially since they're located near the mouth of Wadi Araba (high traffic conduit between the Nile and Red Sea), and this supports the notion that anything that was left in those galleries that was of any use at all to such post-OK cultures was taken and used by those later cultures for their own purposes.
As a general comment, Tallet's frequent use of so many tentative "probably" conditionals to support not just "possibilities" but his definitive "claims" regarding the association of the galleries to the harbor or that el-Jarf was in any way related to the original construction of G1 is disturbing, at least to me. Here is how I'm interpreting his approach to drawing conclusions:
- "If" the hieratic paint marks on those broken shards of pottery found within one of the galleries reflect an OK provenance for the hewing of those galleries, and,
"If" Merrer is talking about large multi-ton blocks of limestone, and,
"if" the work force was large enough to manage such large blocks, and,
"if" the boats that accessed the harbor actually carried cargo that eventually went to Giza",
then el-Jarf was used as part of the project to build G1 (he states it definitively rather than "probably" or even "possibly".
But this is a flawed application of statistical principles. First of all, "probably" generally means "a greater than 50% chance of it being true". What is Tallet's rationale for making such an assumption in statistical probability? There seems to be a recurrent notion in Egyptology that when several pieces of dependent evidence contribute to the same conclusion, then the various probabilities accumulate to increase the validity of the claim. However, just the opposite is true. For example, if there actually was a way to determine that every "if" I mentioned above has a full 70% chance of being true, then the real "probability" that the conclusion is true based on the probability of those 4 dependent "ifs" is 70% to the 4th power, or only 24%. While 24% still means it's possible, it's certainly not "probable", let alone a "factual". If anything, 24% means it's unlikely. In any case, it's not clear how Tallet can be so definitive in his claim about el-Jarf and the construction of G1.
Meanwhile, no explanation has been offered by any investigator regarding how those painted glyphs on those limestone blocks sitting outside the el-Jarf galleries could still be so legible after being exposed to the weather and sun for over 4 millennia when similar paint marks were observed to fade to "almost illegible" after only 25 years of being exposed to the weather when removed from protection in G1's first southern boat pit even though those paint marks were immediately coated with preservative and protected from the weather and sun by a layer of wooden boards.
I have no problem at all if anyone disagrees with any of the above assessment. This is simply my own perspective of the possibilities supported by the evidence. Corrections are certainly welcome.
How can any of us ever know, when all we can do is think?